Federal judge rules Ohio law restricting prisoners’ right to vote is unconstitutional

Prisoners awaiting trial “must be given same voting rights as other citizens,” U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Watson recently found, ruling on a case filed by two men incarcerated in Montgomery County last year, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Lawyers for the men argued that Ohio law “violates the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by treating prisoners differently than other voters,” according to the article. State law grants voters “confined in hospitals by unforeseen medical emergencies until 3 p.m. on Election Day to submit an absentee ballot application,” while voters held in jail “face a noon deadline on the Saturday before an election.” Watson wrote in his opinion, “[t]he legislature cannot simply grant one class of voters more favorable terms . . . (that) is exactly what the Equal Protection clause forbids.” For more, read the full article.

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